A new species of human remains have been found and it further connects what was previously a closed line of relation from one group of humans to another. For some time now, scientists have presumed that the dots have been connected for the most part. However, it would appear as though scientists haven’t had those dots properly connected after all. The latest discovery that has the human studying researchers so confused is a fragment of a jaw bone, that actually reveals an entirely new species that hasn’t ever been documented before.
Dr. Beverly Saylor, a co-author of the paper, which revealed the findings in the journal Nature said, “The age of the new fossils is very well constrained by the regional geology, radiometric dating, and new paleomagnetic data,” in a statement prepared for the media. The findings weren’t just impressive because of how well-prepared and preserved they were though. There was a lot to celebrate with the findings.
Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, the lead researcher on the study pointed out that, “The new species is yet another confirmation that Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, was not the only potential human ancestor species that roamed in what is now the Afar region of Ethiopia during the middle Pliocene. Current fossil evidence from the Woranso-Mille study area clearly shows that there were at least two, if not three, early human species living at the same time and in close geographic proximity.” The findings show just how impressive this entire research was. At this point the important thing is continuing to close this gap that exists now due to the small, but significant finding.
While this research team was able to locate and learn a lot about the findings overall, it doesn’t change that scientists still don’t know a lot. Right now they have a jaw fragment that isn’t entirely telling beyond the fact that it was likely between 3 and 3.5 million years old, but there is still much to be understood about the findings. Specifically, future teams will have to put together more details about the life of these individuals which clearly lived alongside Lucy. This is something alone that scientists didn’t think would be a reality at this point.
However, this reveals the volatile nature of research like this. While it can be easy to assume that we have all of the answers, there are some things, even some things that appear to be obvious, which are completely incorrect when new evidence comes to light. At this point, it’s about pushing further and digging deeper into the history of this particular human ancestor that helped us get to where we are today.